Kilink In Istanbul (1967)

AKA: Kilink Istanbul’da
Country: Turkey
Directed by Yilmaz Atadeniz
Yildiram Gencer, Irfan Atasoy, Pervin Par, Suzan Avci, Muzaffer Tema, Mine Soley
Music by John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith and many others (most likely without permission)

Though not spy films, the Kilink films have quickly risen to the top of the B-grade cult film world. They are wild and crazy and break every law of film-making – in places they are downright amateurish – but their sheer exuberance drives them along and makes them worthwhile and entertaining viewing.

The Kilink films were a popular Turkish film series from the late sixties. There were eleven films in the series, but conservation was never a high priority to the Turkish film industry. Now only three of the films survive, albeit in a beaten and scratched condition. But even is this abused state, these films are worth seeing.

Of the three films that remain, Kilink In Instanbul is the first in the series. The film starts with a funeral cortége traveling to a secruded house in Istanbul. The coffin is taken from the hearse into the house and the lid is removed. Inside is a body wrapped in bandages. A lady in a big hat injects a big needle into the inert body. Slowly the corpse awakens. The minions gathered around begin to unwrap the bandages. Underneath is Kilink. Kilink wears an all-over black body and mask with the visage of a skeleton painted on. He’s much like the Italian character ‘Kriminal’ and with good reason – Kilink is Turkish cinema’s take on the character. Although Turkish film-makers never bothered about little things like obtaining rights or licences for copyrighted properties. The simply took what they wanted and twisted it to their own ends. It was not just characters that they pilfered either. The musical score for Kilink In Istanbul makes liberal use of music from the James Bond series (particularly You Only Live Twice) and assorted ganster and horror films. There’s even a grab from Our Man Flint.

No sooner is Kilink back from the dead and he’s already up to a bit of skulduggery. Professor Houloussi is working on a top secret project that will rid the world of cancer. Somehow this same formula can be used to create a powerful weapon, with which Kilink plans to use to control the world. Kilink sneaks into the Professor’s home and kills one of the staff. Then dressed as the man he has killed, Kilink sneaks into Professor Houloussi’s lab and emands the formula. The Professor refuses to give it up, and for his trouble he is killed. Kilink riffles through the safe and retrieves the formula. Before he leaves, however he scrawls his name in blood beside the dead Professor, so everybody will know who committed the crime.
Kilink returns to his secret lair and orders another chemist to create the formula using Houloussi’s notes. Upon examination it is ascertained that the formula is incomplete. Kilink isn’t happy.

Meanwhile, the son of Professor Houloussi, Orhan is standing at his father’s grave swearing to avenge his father. But he does not know how to go up against somebody as powerful and evil as Kilink. Suddenly in a puff of smoke, a majestic bearded figure appears graveside. He tells Orhan not to fear. He is ‘Shazam Boloum – Protector Of Justice’. Shazam offer to help, and gives Orhan the powers of strength and speed. All Orhan has to do is say “Shazam” He tests out his new powers and says the magic word. He is trnsformed into a super hero called ‘Superhero’. He is part Batman, with a cape and a cowl (but no ears); and he’s part Superman with a large ‘S’ on his chest.

Kilink is still after the magic formula and sends his evil minions back to the Professor’s home and laboratory to find the missing portions of the formula. They kill the guards and beat up the women until Orhan gets home. Upon arrival, Orhan cannot turn into his heroic alter ego, so he is given a right proper kicking. Orhan then leads Kilink’s minions to the laboratory. The minions leave him outside alone, which gives him an opportunity to transform. Superhero then rushes into the laboratory and turns the tables on Kilink’s minions. They run off battered and bloodied back to Kilink.

This film is a lot like an old movie serial with cliff hanging moments every fifteen to twenty minutes. In keeping with this, the film ends on a cliff hanger. But fear not – the story continues with Kilink Vs The Flying Man.

One thing is for sure, this film is not slow paced. The story and the beatings keep rocketing along, refusing to allow any characterisation to get in the way. And who really cares if the story elements and characters have been stolen from other sources (well I guess the copyright holders – but I am sure they had no idea what was happening to their intellectual property in Turkey). I guess that the fact that so few of these films has survived tells a lot about how they were viewed at the time. They were light, throwaway entertainment.

As I’ve mentioned the Kilink films are worth seeking out, but they will not appeal to everybody. They are a cult item. After all scratchy, black and white super hero films from Turkey are a niche item. But if that sounds like your cup of tea, then you’ll find a lot to enjoy.

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